I had to fire 3 people today.
I had to fire a few people today. It wasn’t pretty. I had to literally escort them out the door and demand that they never return.
I will miss them but their banishment was for the good of the whole.
The reasons for the immediate terminations were quite clear:
- They didn’t show up consistently but always seemed present when something went wrong.
- They made the same missteps repeatedly.
- They never came forward and took ownership of their mistakes.
- They forgot to do things OFTEN – give messages, shut off lights, file correctly, and mostly clean up after themselves!
- And they always left the office kitchen a MESS!
I should have known better than to invite them into the organization because I’ve seen the heck they’ve raised in other offices. They just can’t stay out of trouble. Their names you ask? Somebody and Nobody! (And occasionally Anybody). I knew early on that the “bodies” were going to be trouble because I kept hearing people in the office exclaim, “SOMEBODY forgot to wipe down the lunch table!” or “Can NOBODY ever just refill the paper in the copier? Just once!” Or “SOMEBODY forgot to give me the message from the new client” and “Why can’t ANYBODY ever seem to get the right contracts in the right file?” and on and on.
I can tell that it really upsets the team when Somebody, Nobody and Anybody are called out. If I stand in the middle of the office and declare, “SOMEBODY forgot to turn the air conditioner and lights off again when they left last night!”, I notice everyone refuses to make eye contact or suddenly become super busy searching for misplaced papers on their desk. I just can’t keep making my team so uncomfortable because a few people keep screwing up. So, for the good of the whole, for the sake of office morale, Somebody and Nobody and even sweet little Anybody have to hit the road. Don’t let these hooligans show up in your office, on your team, or invade your home. If they do, give them the boot. Show them the door. Don’t ever speak their names again. Why? Because when Somebody, Nobody and Anybody are around chances are high that clear, direct communication, feedback and accountability are lacking. I worked for a passionate, charismatic leader who never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings so whenever he was frustrated, disappointed or annoyed he would harshly and publically reprimand Somebody, Nobody and Anybody. We’d all listen with a bit of embarrassment and sadness that he felt let down, but because the conversation never got around to someone taking ownership for the gap, we also never took a hard look at how to remediate the gap and prevent future issues. The bottom line is that these three are easy to blame. They are the scapegoats for people who aren’t brave enough to have direct conversations, give clear feedback and hold themselves or others accountable. Getting brave is easy once you have the tools! Then instead of blaming the elusive "body" triplets, you will spend more time empowering others to increase positive behaviors, performance and to achieve goals. When things go awry, as they sometimes do in businesses, relationships and families, laying blame in general terms instead of being clear perpetuates repeat performance of the same undesirable behaviors. Start noticing where these three are causing disruption in your life and work. Be brave and show them the door. Announce to everyone “Somebody, Nobody and Anybody don’t work here anymore!” Are you frustrated by the behaviors of the three “bodies”? Are continued mistakes, missed deadlines and dropped balls inhibiting success? Then it is time to hold a Navigating Challenging Dialogue™ workshop for your staff, team or professional group. And you too can give Somebody, Anybody and Nobody the boot – permanently!